A sign Friday informs motorists of an impending change to the intersection of First Rangeway, Chase Avenue and Western Avenue in Waterville. The intersection will become a four-way stop next Monday in a move police and state transportation officials hope will reduce automobile crashes. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — A city intersection that has seen many automobile crashes in recent years will be converted next week to an all-way stop to make it safer for motorists, according to officials.

Police Chief Joseph Massey said the city is making the change at the intersection of First Rangeway and Western and Chase avenues after consulting with the Maine Department of Transportation. The DOT reviewed crash and other data at the site and engineers confirmed the intersection warranted a four-way stop, Massey said.

The Police Department placed electronic notifications Friday on First Rangeway to make motorists aware of the change, which takes effect Monday.

At least 10 automobile crashes occurred at the intersection from 2018 to 2020, according to Massey.

“One of the criteria DOT looks at, in addition to other things on that particular street such as volume of traffic, is the crash rate over a three-year period,” Massey said Monday. “It has to be at least eight crashes in a three-year period to classify a location as a high-crash location, and they’ve had 10. Without question, an all-way stop reduces crashes.”

Vehicles on First Rangeway approaching the intersection from the north and south now have a blinking yellow light warning drivers to proceed with caution. Motorists approaching the intersection from Western and Chase avenues have stop signs. The speed limit there is 25 mph.

“That particular intersection we have looked at across the years to consider an all-way stop,” Massey said earlier. “We looked at the crash data, volume of traffic and other things to determine whether it would justify putting a four-way stop there.”

Several years ago, the city permanently blocked upper Western Avenue, where it met First Rangeway because the intersection at the time was a five-way intersection.

“We have had some significant crashes with serious injuries there,” Massey said.

He said the new configuration will include a red flashing light at the intersection, four stop signs, clearly marked crosswalks and painted words on the roads alerting motorists to stop ahead.

“We really feel confident that this is going to reduce crashes that happen at that particular intersection,” Massey said.


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